Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on what you are truly thankful for and appreciating what we have. This past year was one of the most chaotic and challenging for people all over the globe. Life as we knew it was changed dramatically as COVID-19 turned things upside down from what we had previously known as our normal. With cases on the rise again and the threat of another shutdown many have found themselves (me included) worried for what the future has in store. However, for Sixers fans, the light at the end of the tunnel is already here and there is much to be thankful for already.
For the first time in recent Sixers history, they have the right man at the head for the job. Morey has a proven track record of building rosters from his time around the NBA and is best known for his time spent with the Rockets. The fact that Morey was able to find a new home with the Sixers was extremely unlikely, but nonetheless, it happened. Morey passed on offers from a couple of NBA teams as well as interest from the MLB and NFL, in order to chase a championship in Philly and be the man who finally completes The Process.
In his short time leading the team, Morey managed to get Al Horford’s disastrous contract off the books, flipped Josh Richardson for Seth Curry, added valuable bench depth, and had arguably the best draft in the past 20+ years. Asking “What Would Daryl Do?” should be the only concern when debating on moves as he has danced around the cap and made things happen beyond what anyone could have hoped in his first offseason.
It is unlikely that there will be any more major moves prior to the season, but expect Morey to make a splash during the season with the use of the mid-level exception and cap space that he managed to clear up through the deals made.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
As long as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons remain in Philly, The Process will continue to live on. Both are legitimate top-15 NBA players and are under 27 years old. Embiid can dance in the post as well as anyone else in the league along with a smooth jumper and a dominant presence on defense. Ben Simmons has developed into one of the best defenders in the NBA and can run coast-to-coast as well as anyone in the league. His unique frame and ability to run an offense had new Sixer Dwight Howard referring to him as “a young LeBron,” and Simmons has proven to be a player any franchise would be happy to get their hands on.
Despite being one of the most villainized people in NBA history, Sixer fans should remain thankful for Sam Hinkie every day. Prior to the Hinkie era, the Sixers were trapped in NBA purgatory led by a team made up of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Blowing things up was the right decision. Even with the frustrating past few seasons where the team has fallen short of its championship aspirations, the Sixers are much closer than they ever would have been if this decision to “Trust the Process” was never made.
While Hinkie went to lengths that no other GM ever has (and maybe never will), it is clear that he had a major influence on the rest of the league. With Hinkie seemingly shunned from the NBA, it is frustrating to watch other GM’s be praised so heavily for collecting draft picks. Most recently Sam Presti has received a great deal of public approval for collecting a ridiculous amount of draft picks over the next few years.
Despite the great look of this on paper, Hinkie did a far more impressive job of collecting assets given the limited amount of appealing players he had to flip. Without starting The Process, the Sixers would not have their superstars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and it is likely the team is nowhere as close to championship contention as they seem to be today,
Doc Rivers becomes Sixers Head Coach
The addition of Doc Rivers has seemingly flown under the radar. While there is not a bad thing that can be said about Brett Brown as a person, an improvement from a basketball perspective was greatly needed.
Rivers is the 11th all-time leading coach in regular-season wins and 7th all-time in postseason wins. Doc has been around the NBA as a player and coach for over 37 years and knows the ins and outs of basketball as much as anyone in the league. Adding this level of basketball IQ to the Sixers roster will make an immediate impact not to mention that Tobias Harris, who has drawn criticism for underperforming last year, had his best season under Rivers with the Clippers.
The Sixers finally have shooters
With so much noise surrounding if Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can play together, the attention was finally shifted to the supporting cast. Adding floor spacers to open up the drive for Simmons and the post-up for Embiid will quiet these critics. The Sixers did about the best job possible of adding quality shooters and Danny Green, Seth Curry, Isaiah Joe, and even Ryan Broekhoff will all be welcomed additions to the team.
This roster is the best suited to surround Simmons and Embiid that they have seen since the team that fell to the Raptors on the heartbreaking Kawhi shot. Last season was an extreme disappointment for the Sixers that it is fair to feel discouraged. The season even was put on hold due to the COVID outbreak just for play to return and for fan’s hearts to be broken one more time. Despite this, the Sixers have shifted onto a vastly different path than they were on prior to the Morey era. The Sixers are in great hands and optimism should be renewed for this upcoming season.
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